Monday 18 December 2017

Teacher’s action again Twitter for ‘offensive pictures and tweets’ settled

Matter has been resolved at High Court

An action by an Irish school teacher against Twitter International alleging she was subject of “grossly defamatory and offensive sexually related pictures and tweets” has been resolved at the High Court.

Mr Justice Michael White had on December 31st last ordered Twitter International, with a registered address at Pearse Street, Dublin, to immediately take down the offensive material contained in a profile associated with the woman.

The judge said the court would make no comment on the liability of Twitter which had previously indicated it simply facilitates members of the public to engage in discourse over the internet. He also ordered that the profile complained of should not be identified by the media.

Twitter had denied any liability for posting of the pictures and tweets but the disputed material was removed in compliance with the court orders.

When the matter returned to court today, Rossa Fanning BL, for Twitter International said it had been agreed between the sides the proceedings, and a related motion, could be struck out with no order. Mr Justice Paul Gilligan struck out the matter as requested.

In an affidavit for the December 31st hearing, the woman said a friend had told her on December 17th last that there was a profile on Twitter apparently connected with her and featuring a series of sexually explicit and offensive photographs and commentary about her.

She told the judge she had not created or had anything to do with the profile which was causing her a great deal of distress and alarm. She was worried about the damage the grossly defamatory profile page could do to her reputation and future employment prospects, she added.

She believed whoever was posting the material was doing so for a malicious purpose, she also said.

She and her solicitor had both reported an impersonation violation to Twitter International and had asked Twitter to immediately suspend the profile from the Internet but, as of the date of the affidavit, the profile remained on Twitter.

Mr Justice White said he had no doubt the profile site was totally defamatory of the woman and said it should have been taken down as a matter of urgency in view of the particular content. He made an order directing Twitter to take down the profile immediately and remove all material relating to the woman.

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